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Debian install gui

Rick Moen [rick at linuxmafia.com]
Thu, 2 Nov 2006 14:48:25 -0800

----- Forwarded message from Rick Moen <rick@linuxmafia.com> --

Date: Thu, 2 Nov 2006 14:47:19 -0800
To: luv-main@luv.asn.au
From: Rick Moen <rick@linuxmafia.com>
Subject: Re: Debian install gui
Quoting Peter McMullen (peter@mcmullen.net.au):

> There was a thread running a while ago about the alleged difficulty of
> installing Debian, and much was mode of the lack of a GUI installer. 
> Actually it does exist, and has for a while. It has been updated for
> the Etch RC1, but its a bit of a secret. If you burn the install iso
> and boot, it looks the same as it always has, but if you type
> installgui instead of just hitting enter you get the new install
> interface. 
> Its a direct mapping of the old dialogue, so if you expect it to hook
> gparted to help with partitioning, get used to disappointment. The
> only significant difference, so far, is that it does sometimes ask
> multiple questions on one page - e.g. for password verification.

This illustrates yet again that, when less-technical users say "your Linux distribution needs [foo]", they often mean something else entirely -- or aren't really sure what they mean -- and have a bizarre tendency to express themselves using code phrases.

That is, the code phrase "GUI installer" in this context usually turns out to really have very little to do with graphics. The speaker really means "I want an OS installer that asks me very, very few questions and does extensive hardware autoprobing." I.e., (they believe) they want completely automated installers, or as close as possible.

Old-timers may recall the antique debate point used by MS-Windows and Macintoy OS users for years: "Linux needs more applications." After hearing this for many years, I sat down with one of them, a longtime Windows user, at a Linux desktop box and typed:

$ grep Package: /var/lib/apt/lists/*Packages | wc -l
I pointed out that the return value of 17,511 was the number of currently available software packages, in that distribution. Mr. Windows said: "Um, desktop productivity software, I mean." So, I showed the guy a list of the roughly dozen different full "office" suites that were then available for x86 Linux systems.
RM:  A dozen.  How many are enough office suites?  Two dozen?  A hundred?
Mr. Windows:  Well, I thought there weren't any at all.
RM:  And why did you think that?
Mr. Windows:  Well, I looked on the shelves in my corner software store.
RM:  So, because you can't conceive of getting software any other way
     than in a separate, extra-cost retail package, you simply 
     assumed that Linux "needs more applications".  By the way,
     how many office suites do you use?
Mr. Windows:  {face turning red}  One.
Cheers,                 "Heedless of grammar, they all cried 'It's him!'"
Rick Moen                       -- R.H. Barham, _Misadventure at Margate_

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Rick Moen [rick at linuxmafia.com]
Thu, 2 Nov 2006 15:25:38 -0800

----- Forwarded message from Rick Moen <rick@linuxmafia.com> --

Date: Thu, 2 Nov 2006 15:24:09 -0800
To: luv-main@luv.asn.au
From: Rick Moen <rick@linuxmafia.com>
Subject: Re: Debian install gui
Quoting Brian May (bam@snoopy.apana.org.au):

> Imagine if the corner shop sold copies of OpenOffice (and other open
> source packages), in a good looking boxes for $100+ each.
> Users would realize that Linux software exists, the corner shop would
> get a generous profit for each sale, and the users wouldn't know any
> better.

Funny you should mention that. Around 1995-6 I think it was, I heard a guest speaker at CalLUG (University of California at Berkeley LUG) from a little company, a Novell spin-off, called Caldera Systems. While still an internal project (the "Corsair Project") at Novell under the late Ray Noorda, they had surveyed Novell customers about the possibility of Novell backing a desktop corporate operating system platform, that could take the place of MS-Windows. Among the options discussed was a desktop platform based on Linux -- but the customer business executives seemed oddly uneasy about that. So, Novell asked them why.

The presenter, a straight-arrow fellow who gave every appearance of being a Mormon farm boy, deadpanned, "They told us they weren't comfortable with the idea of a free operating system. So, we offered to sell it to them."

Gee, I wonder whatever became of Caldera? ;->

Cheers,               Dogs may have kept us company on the hunt, but it was 
Rick Moen             the cats who insisted we invent houses and discover fire.
rick@linuxmafia.com                                    -- Khiem Tran

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